Houses of worship to be lit red for the persecuted

St Mary’s Cathedral in Sydney as well as other houses of worship will be floodlit red, the colour of martyrs, to commemorate Red Wednesday (28 November) to draw attention to the plight of those around the globe who have been persecuted for their religious beliefs.

For the first time, ACN Australia will sponsor Red Wednesday with St Mary’s Cathedral, in Sydney, St Patrick’s Cathedral in Melbourne, the Great Synagogue in Sydney, St John’s College at Sydney University and St James’ Anglican Church in King Street all floodlit in red

It is the first time Australian landmarks will join other cities such as Rio de Janeiro, London, Rome and Paris in lighting up significant buildings and iconic sites as a sign of solidarity. Australians are also encouraged to wear the colour red on the day and to pray for an end to religious persecution.

Red Wednesday is an initiative of the Catholic Charity, Aid to the Church in Need. The day has been marked around the world in previous years with the British Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey, major Catholic cathedrals, the Colosseum, the Trevi Fountain and Christ the Redeemer (the statue) all being floodlit in blood red to raise awareness against abuses of religious freedom.

The aim of the day is for people of all faiths to raise a strong voice in support of the persecuted around the world who cannot profess their religion freely.

It is hoped Red Wednesday will, as it has in other countries, become a nationwide observance in all states and territories, where people can stand up for religious faith and freedom of conscience – and join with people of all faiths to raise a strong voice in support of the persecuted who cannot profess their religion freely such as:

• Christians in Egypt and Iraq
• the Baha’i community in Iran
•  Catholics in the southern Philippines
•  the Rohingya in Myanmar
•  Jewish communities in Europe
•  people of all faiths in China.

Red Wednesday coincides with the release of the 2018 Religious Freedom in the World Report. A document produced every two years by Aid to the Church in Need the Report assesses issues relating to religious freedom for all faith groups in 196 countries. It can be viewed at: 

For those in Sydney, a Mass will be held at St Mary’s Cathedral at 5.30pm, followed by an Interfaith Gathering in the Crypt at 7pm.

The Archbishop of Sydney, the Most Rev. Anthony Fisher OP, will join with other religious leaders from the Muslim, Bahá'í, Buddhist, Mormon, Orthodox, Maronite, Melkite, Chaldean, Anglican and Catholic communities to observe a Night of Witness.  

The gathering will hear testimonies from an Orthodox Christian, who fled Syria after his children’s school was bombed, and, from a Yemeni Bahá'í woman, who will tell of her family’s present peril of persecution.

The gathering will then watch the cathedral be lit red.

You can find out more here.




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Brooke Robinson Image
Brooke Robinson

Brooke is Content Officer for the Communications Team in the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle